Monday, December 10, 2012

Mapping the Way

Curriculum mapping is a process that organizes learning in both a vertical and horizontal scope and sequence.  National and state standards, locally created power standards, essential questions and supporting questions, and essential skills and content are elements organized in a curriculum map.  These maps are used as a platform upon which teachers design lessons.  They are rarely shared as an instructional tool with students and often they find themselves in a binder on a dusty old shelf.

In Curriculum 21, Heidi Hayes Jacobs shares a couple of simple but effective ways to utilize curriculum maps in instruction.  At the beginning of a term or unit, a student can code the map to inform the teacher of his/her prior knowledge and skills, which inform decisions to support differentiation.

"Green:  I know this concept and/or I can do this skill
Yellow:  I know what this this concept and/or skill is, but I'm not confident that I can do it.
Red:  I don't know what this concept and/or skill is." (pg. 163)

At the end of a term or unit, a student can code the map to assess their understanding, inform the teacher if re-teaching/support is necessary, and facilitate student reflection.  With this standard, I feel:

"M=Most comfortable
N=Not quite comfortable
L=Least comfortable" (pg. 165)

As Jacobs writes, "Many students dread reflection, considering it to be a waste of time.  Many see it as a trap:  teachers ask a seemingly open-ended question, but the students believe that the teacher is only looking for certain buzzwords or validation about the "value" of the lesson--a kind of mandatory response." (pg. 164)  Grounding reflection in standards reaffirms the purposes of the unit/lessons, and assures students that their learning indeed has direction.

No comments:

Post a Comment